Modern urban spaces are, by definition, mixed socio-spatial configurations. In many ways, their enduring success and vitality lie in the richness of their ethnic texture and ongoing exchange of economic goods, cultural practices, political ideas and social movements. This mixture, however, is rarely harmonious and has often led to violent conflict over land and identity. Focusing on mixed towns in Israel/Palestine, this insightful volume theorizes the relationship between modernity and nationalism and the social dynamics which engender and characterize the growth of urban spaces and the emergence therein of inter-communal relations. For more than a century, Arabs and Jews have been interacting in the workplaces, residential areas, commercial enterprises, cultural arenas and political theatres of mixed towns. Defying prevailing Manichean oppositions, these towns both exemplify and resist the forces of nationalist segregation. In this interdisciplinary volume, a new generation of Israeli and Palestinian scholars come together to explore ways in which these towns have been perceived as utopian or dystopian and whether they are best conceptualized as divided, dual or colonial. Identifying ethnically mixed towns as a historically specific analytic category, this volume calls for further research, comparison and debate.
’This excellent volume opens up an entirely new angle of vision on relations among Jews and Palestinians in Israel. By exploring the connections between urban space, nationhood, and modernity, it treats so-called mixed towns� as both a metaphor for and an expression of the tensile sociology of the country at large. Essential reading for anyone interested in the Middle East, past and present.’ John Comaroff, University of Chicago, USA 'The authors…have drawn on a wide range of theories in order to provide a comprehensive explanation of the everyday life in mixed towns…This is an important contribution to the qualitative methods now being used in social research, the importance of which has only recently been widely acknowledged.' Geography Research Forum '…the book compels the reader to rethink paradigms that have come to characterize Israel/Palestine studies and to consider what is at stake for the future, given what the mixed town simultaneously erases and embraces.' Journal of Palestine Studies